It’s going to be a unique weekend with Christmas Day falling on Sunday, something that last took place in 2011 and before that 2005. Making things even more interesting are the three films—Passengers, Sing and Assassain’s Creed—that go into wide release today, December 21, the wide release of Fox’s comedy Why Him? on Friday, December 23, and then the nationwide expansion of Fences into ~2,200 theatres (U.S. Only) and La La Land into 731 (U.S. Only) on Christmas Day. As if that wasn’t enough, this weekend also features limited releases from Martin Scorsese, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, J.A. Bayona and more. Oh, and a little film called Rogue One enters its second weekend after a $155 million debut just six days ago. All in all, there is more than enough (maybe too much?) for moviegoers to choose from over the next six days and a lot to unpack as we attempt to forecast how it will all shake out.
Following its $155 million opening last weekend it has followed that up with the fourth largest Monday and Tuesday performances in December as its global cume now stands at $357 million since debuting internationally one week ago. Domestically, we’re anticipating a drop around 55% and a three-day around $70 million using The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as our main title for comparison.
The big question for Sing, as with all of the titles we’ll be looking at today, is just how well it will perform on Christmas Eve and just how well it will improve on Christmas Day. Looking at data over the last 20 years, Christmas Eve features the largest daily drop on average for films ranking in the top ten. Consequentially, while Christmas Eve features the largest drops on average, Christmas Day features the second largest day-to-day gains on average.
Using the same, twenty year set of results, animated titles drop, on average, 33.5% on Christmas Eve while averaging a 29.1% improvement on Christmas Day. For non-animated titles, the average Christmas Eve drop over the last 20 years has been 40% while Christmas Day gains are a whopping 118.1%. Just how much of an effect this will have on this year’s crop of films remains to be seen, though performances for titles such as Rogue One and new releases including Passengers and Assassain’s Creed, which feature overlapping target demographics, could really be impacted.
Passengers kicked of last night with $1.2m from the evening screenings. Equitable comparisons aren’t necessarily available as the number of Tuesday preview grosses are limited, but this gross is behind the $1.4 million Creed took in before heading into the long, Thanksgiving holiday weekend, ultimately delivering a $29.6 million three-day and $42.1 million over its first five days in release. A similar opening for Passengers would be in line with studio projections, which currently anticipate a $30-40 million five-day opening. As far as a forecast is concerned, Sony’s estimations seem relatively safe targets as of right now with a three-day looking like anything from $22-26 million.
Looking at a fourth place finish and playing in nearly 600 fewer theaters than Passengers, is Fox’s release of the video game adaptation Assassain’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. industry expectations anticipate something in the area of $30 million over the full, six-day period, a rather slow start for a $125 million production that has already received a critical drubbing. For our part we’re anticipating a three-day weekend in the realm of $14 million, which should mirror that $30 million six-day once all is said and done.
Three Day Forecast (Dec 23-25)
- Rogue One – $69.9M
- Sing – $46M
- Passengers – $24.5M
- Assassain’s Creed – $14M
- Why Him? – $11M
- Moana – $8M
- La La Land – $5.1M
- Collateral Beauty – $4.7M
- Office Christmas Party – $4.3M
- Fences – $4.2M